The 3D models in Google Earth 126.96.36.19944 are slow to load (1-3 minutes) and once they do are missing textures. The only models that look fine are the trees.
Based on the tips in this three year old thread, I have tried switching between Direct X and OpenGL, compressed and uncompressed textures, and those combinations, but that didn't help at all. I'm not willing to try the suggestion of limiting RAM to 3 GB, but that had mixed results anyway.
I have a 30 megabit connection to the net, and can see there's not much network activity from Google Earth in Task Manager. I'm using Windows 8 with a Core i5 and GTX 570.
The RAM cache is set to 1024 MB and the disk cache set to 4096 MB.
Cathedral of Saint John the Divine as seen in Google Earth
About the same scene as above, in Google Maps with the Google Earth plugin for Chrome